Understanding Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The heart of all personal injury lawsuits is negligence. You, the plaintiff must prove with evidence that the responsible party must be held liable for your injury.
Negligence – Overview
Negligence is a failure to exercise appropriate or required care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person. A store doesn’t mop a spill for several hours, and a customer slips, they are negligent. If a drunk driver were to hit you with their car, they would be considered the negligent party.
In order to win a personal injury claim, you must prove 3 things:
- Standard of Care: The defendant had a legal or ethical duty to the plaintiff (you) to use reasonable care.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant acted (or failed to act) as a reasonable person in the same situation would.
- Causation: The defendant’s actions (or lack of action) caused your injuries.
Standard of Care
This is a duty that everyone has, in some capacity, to use reasonable care to prevent injury or loss to others. In personal injury cases like car accidents, the duty of care is directly related to the laws of the road that everyone must abide by. In personal injury cases involving common carriers like bus drivers or airline pilots, they are trained to be aware of their passengers’ safety and are held to a stricter standard.
There are some exceptions to duty of care requirements that can make personal injury cases more difficult including the foreseeability of harm to the injured party – If someone spills milk in a grocery store, and thirty seconds later another person slips on the milk and is injured, it would be hard to prove negligence of the store. To learn more about these exceptions, click here:
Breach of Duty
When you are on the road, you are required to abide by the law and exercise sound judgement. If you are going 65mph in a 25mph area and cause an accident, you would be considered negligent. If you can show that the defendant breached a duty like this, then you have a solid negligence case.
If someone’s negligence caused you to break your leg, but you start complaining about neck pain, and you have a medical history of neck pain prior to the accident, you would have a hard time proving that person’s negligence caused your neck pain. When it comes to working with a personal injury attorney, potential clients should be aware that medical history is critical to the success of their case.
If you believe you can prove the negligence of another person or entity caused your personal injury, you might have grounds for a case. Talk to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers at the Scranton Law Firm, and we can give you a free legal evaluation for your type of case.
Here is some other information you might find helpful: